Usually, the only people who say bad things about Sand Hill are either people who breed for show exclusively or who are upset because of the backlog/service issues. Granted, Sand Hill doesn't raise show birds, but they do keep rare breeds going, and they try hard to provide good customer service considering how small they are and how many orders they get. People who expect them to be
a) show breeders
b) a large hatchery with a full staff
will be disappointed, because they just have a small family business with a large backlog.
OK I am going to order 7 Light Sussex, 7 Mille Fleur Leghorn and 4 La Fleche. If anyone in the memphis area wants to purchase some just let me know and i will let you know if and when they arrive. I do not ship.
I disagree. I've ordered from him several times. My big problem with him, is his refusal to be considerate of his customers' time and schedules. I'm referring to his refusal to call and notify his customers in the event that their order will NOT be shipped on the date that it was scheduled, for whatever reason. I fully understand that things happen, and hatches do not not always go as planned, but people who order chicks need to plan ahead to be sure that we are available when the post office will call. When he tells us that they will be shipped on a Monday, we make sure that we are available all day Tuesday, and then Wednesday when they don't arrive, and then Thursday, etc, all the time waiting, rearranging our schedules to make sure that someone is available to pick them up. Some people even take time off from work to be available, yet he refuses to call or even email if the order will not be coming. The entire scenario is repeated when the next scheduled hatch date come around.
After my last, and final order with him, his wife left a sharp message on my machine, informing me that the DO NOT call when the chicks are not shipped.
I read carefully all of his many conditions which need to be followed in order to be allowed the privilege of doing business with him. I chuckle to myself how he gripes about how so very busy he is, yet many of his breeds and varieties are available at almost any hatchery. True, the man has done a lot of good for rare breed preservation, and has some incredibley rare breeds which you cannot find anywhere else, but still, I feel that he's very hypocrital to whine about how busy he is and how much work it takes to get everything done, when he's raising breeds like Old English Games, Silkies, Cochins, and so many others that are very, very common. IMO, when raising these breeds, he's no longer a preservationist, he's a hatchery, and he's using the preservation card as a reason to provide poor customer service. I fully understand the difference between a big hatchery with lots of personnel, and what it is he claims he's trying to do. Maybe if all of his common breeds weren't taking up so much of his valuable time, pens, incubator space, and feed, he'd have time to really concentrate on being a rare breed preservationist, and spreading the breeds around for their long term survival.
Professional, you made a good point. He has many common breeds that can be found anywhere. I could see if he had those breeds but had rare colors. For example, he has Ameraucana bantams, when really they are easter egger bantams, if they were pure colors, that would be great, but they are basically mongrels that lay colorful eggs. For bantams, the only breeds that need to be preserved really are the buckeyes, new hampshires, and maybe wyandotte bantams. In largefowl he has lots of rare breeds and rare colors. For example, the leghorns. He has black, red, mille fluer, buff, exchequer and all those are rare colors, but he has single comb light brown leghorns which are one of the most popular varieties. Also with the minorcas, he admits to having commercial lines of buffs, which are hatchery birds. I have to give him credit for trying to preserve so many breeds/varieties, but some of them just dont fit in the preservation category at all, like silkie bantams, there are many many breeders of alot of the breeds and varieties that they wont have to worry about extinction for a LONG TIME.
Thing is monkey is that sometimes the really truely rare breeds don't bring in the money needed to keep the whole enterprise going. So some of the more popular breeds are needed to generate the income needed to fill in the places when the rares don't generate any income at all.
I have to agree with Professional on the issues of Sandhill. I have gotten alot of the birds from him and many of the 4H judges dont care about how they look or somehow the type has fallen off the line somewhere. I was getting some genetic problems with the Faverolles and they were pretty weak and poor colors on them. Too many of his Salmon Faverolles looks like they got some "sport" colors in their feathers. Sandhill to me, now is getting to the point of being a hatchery and nor does he cull out the bad faults in the birds which some of us have some bad faults happening more than once in our birds. If he is so busy maybe he needs to scale back and use birds that have been good selling like his Orps and Amercuanas (really they were EE;s because the hens produced green and olive eggs). The yellow legs in Orpingtons have been popping up and some of the exhibitors had to cull out Sandhill Preservation bloodlines out of their stock. NOt all of the Orps from them are that way but be expected to get less than perfect birds from Sandhill.
If you want something in 'true" of a breed, go to a private breeder that got some long time standing with the breeds or talk to some of the breeders and some can refer you to a good reputable breeder. Ask alot of questions!Some of us in here in BYC do specialize in certain breeds and work hard at it too and culling alot of their birds hard to keep a good strong traits intact with very mimimual "throwbacks" going on.
I would get some of Gordie's Light Sussex and I am sure there is a Sussex club you can ask around for some better birds.